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Agriculture News

Wall Street hit by trade war fears

BBC | Posted on April 4, 2018

China said it would place 25% trade tariffs on 106 US goods, including soybeans, aircraft and orange juice.The tit-for-tat action comes hours after Washington detailed about 1,300 Chinese products it intended to hit with tariffs - also set at 25%.Wall Street opened sharply lower, but regained ground by mid-day.After starting down more than 400 points or 1.75%, the Dow was only down by about 0.6% by late morning.

Tree Defender proves to be a highly effective, profitable weapon against citrus greening

PR Newswire | Posted on April 4, 2018

The Tree Defender was originally created by growers for growers to provide an immediate solution to citrus greening by preventing psyllids from infecting trees. Having been in the field now for over three years, Tree Defender can still confidently say that no psyllid has yet to be found on any tree being covered by their protective, breathable screen.The goal is to use Tree Defender to protect young trees from psyllids and greening during their first two years as they are in a vegetative and growing state. After those two years, the bag is removed, and the trees are healthy, pesticide free, and ready to start producing fruit and crops immediately. If the grower wishes to continue protecting the tree into the mature years, then they simply purchase a larger Tree Defender.

Pork Tariffs Sour Industry Outlook

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on April 4, 2018

The 2018 outlook early this year was for modest profitability. Now, it has shifted to losses. The reasons are clear. Higher costs and lost exports as China has implemented a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork that goes into effect today, April 2, 2018. Several forces are driving costs higher, but feed is the primary culprit. Since the start of the year, corn futures are about 27 cents per bushel higher and soybean meal futures are about $55 per ton higher. This means that feed cost are nearly $3 per live hundredweight higher. This is composed of $1.20 higher because of corn prices and $1.75 due to higher meal prices.Other costs of production are rising as well. Energy costs are expected to rise with the government Energy Information Agency forecasting a nine percent rise for on-road diesel prices this year and a seven percent rise in retail gasoline prices. The tight labor market is expected to result in a three percent rise in wage rates. Interest rates are also rising. The Chicago FED reports the average interest rate on farm operating loans in 2017 was 4.9 percent. If that rate rises by 100 basis points this year to 5.9 percent, that is a 20 percent increase. Finally, the Trump tariffs on steel and aluminum will likely put upward pressure on metal prices that are important to buildings and equipment used in pork production.

Delaware County officials end fight against 10,000-hog farm

Daily Herald | Posted on April 4, 2018

Officials in a central Indiana county are dropping their fight against a proposed 10,000-hog farm after threats of legal action since a state agency has approved the project. The Delaware County commissioner had put a hold on building permits for the farm in the northern part of the county. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management recently approved plans for the confined animal feeding operation. That's despite concerns from residents over possible well water pollution and the farm field application of manure produced in the site's four barns.

Yeast engineered to manufacture complex medicine

Science Daily | Posted on April 4, 2018

Bioengineers have figured out a way to make noscapine, a non-narcotic cough suppressant that occurs naturally in opium poppies, in brewer's yeast.

Prospective soybean planted acres a ‘stunner’

Agrinews | Posted on April 4, 2018

The prospective plantings report released March 29 sent ripples across the commodity trading floors and turned screens green. The U.S. Department of Agriculture report, based on farmer surveys, projected U.S. soybean planted acres of 89 million and 88 million corn acres. The USDA initially projected 90 million planted acres of both corn and soybeans in its Feb. 23 agricultural outlook forum.

Human-centered design is key to forming partnerships for large-scale conservation succes

Science Daily | Posted on April 4, 2018

To recruit more fishers to help with marine conservation, cast a wider net. New findings question previous assumptions in the field that the payments themselves are the most effective motivator of participation. "Similar to the way consumers make purchasing decisions, voluntary conservation programs are value propositions," said Josh Donlan, founder and director of Advanced Conservation Strategies and co-author on the study. "While payments are important, fishers also consider other costs and benefits they expect to occur and then decide whether their overall wellbeing would be improved."The human-centered design approach works by attracting fishers who may be otherwise uncertain or unenthusiastic about the payment program. Their study found that desirable programs were better able to attract fishers who thought the program was a good idea, but who might have low trust that the conditions exist to make it happen. They also found that fishers who were not sure it is a great idea were more willing to participate based on program adjustments like shorter enrollment periods.

Judge: Jury won’t take smell tour of North Carolina hog farm

The Seattle Times | Posted on April 4, 2018

A federal judge says he won’t send jurors for a see-and-sniff tour of a North Carolina hog-growing operation at the center of a lawsuit claiming industrial-scale pork production causes ugly conditions. Judge W. Earl Britt ruled Monday that jurors would not get a true feel for conditions with one quick visit to a Bladen County farm growing animals for Virginia’s Smithfield Foods. Britt’s decision came as jurors were being selected for a trial that could shake the profits and change production methods of pork producers after a generation of raising hogs in confined conditions. The trial could take six weeks.Lawyers for the farm’s neighbors said the jury tour was requested just as the farm was removing millions of gallons of waste for the first time in 23 years.

Agriculture Is Being Left In The Digital Dust

Ag Professional | Posted on April 4, 2018

Agriculture is the least digitized of all major industries, according to the McKinsey Global Institute’s Digitization Index. That’s right. Agriculture is dead last for living up to its digital potential. It’s never good when you realize you’re even being outflanked by slow-moving sectors such as government and education. In the digital horse race, our industry is being left in the dust. When you’re being beat by a bureaucracy, you know you’ve got serious problems. In the world of big data, self-driving tractors and combine yield monitor tech that was introduced more than a quarter century ago, one has to ask how modern agriculture is last in terms of digitization. Even with the amazing advancements in technology that mainstream agriculture has seen during the past two decades, the McKinsey report exposes just how far agriculture is behind compared with other industries.

Iowa will see 'hits across the board' as trade war with China escalates

Des Moines Register | Posted on April 3, 2018

An escalating trade war between the U.S. and China will hit two key parts of Iowa's economy — farming and manufacturing. And the timing is terrible.China said Monday it will levy tariffs of up to 25 percent on pork, ethanol and dozens of other products that would hammer Iowa's ag economy as it struggles to get out of a lingering downturn."It's going to make a bad situation worse for agriculture," said David Swenson, an Iowa State University economist. "You're going to see hits across the board," including job losses, said Chad Hart, an ISU agriculture economist. "This will reach across Iowa, because it's impacting both manufacturing and ag sectors," Hart said. "That will hit the state economy. That will hit the state government."